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Circassian History relates the heroic struggle for survival of one of the most ancient nations in the world, with a unique language and a highly developed distinctive culture. Beginning from 1555, Circassian princes began seeking the friendship and protection of czarist Russia against the aggressions of the Ottoman Turks and Crimean Khans. However, Czarist Russia unleashed its colonial war against Circassia to build the necessary harbors on the Black Sea. Their Nart Epos and archeological finds of the Maikop dolmen and barrow cultures testify that the ancestors of the Circassians lived and prospered on the same territory at least since the advent of the Bronze Age.
Their Homeland in North Caucasus stretched from the main ridge of the Caucasus Mountains to the northeastern Black Sea and eastern Azov seacoasts. Its northern boundaries run from Lake Manych and along the Terek River--the northern boundary of Kabarda.
Beginning from 1555, Circassian princes began seeking the friendship and protection of czarist Russia against the aggressions of the Ottoman Turks and Crimean Khans. However, Czarist Russia unleashed its colonial aggression and conquered Circassia to build the necessary harbors on the Black Sea. Russia planned to seize Bosphorus and Dardanelles with the passage to the Mediterranean Sea, weaken the position of the Ottoman Empire, deal a powerful blow on the trade interests of Great Britain, and gain the upper hand over the European powers in the contest for world supremacy.
In this unequal war, Russia occupied Kabarda in 1779. By 1822, it stripped off the Kabardinian princes of the right to rule in their own land and subjected them and their country to the dictatorship of the commanding generals of the Russian armed forces. Thus, early and masterfully, Russia had cut off Kabarda from its western kindred and then directed its military might against Western Circassia.
During this period, Russia launched a powerful worldwide propaganda campaign, portraying the Circassians to the Western world as the "marauding savages" who should be obliterated from the face of the earth in order to ensure peace in the region. At the same time, Russia kept increasing its armed forces in this region. For example, during General Yermolov's time, Russia increased its army in this region from 50-75,000, excluding the Cossacks. Russia added 47 new battalions since 1831 and another 40,000 soldiers in 1840. In short, a 210,000 Russian armies and 80,000 Cossack Cavalries were conducting military operations in Circassia during 1853-1856. Later, Russia reinforced it with 24,000 Russian infantry corps and 2 dragoon regiments and artillery.
Russia suffered colossal losses in the Russo-Circassian War. Since the time of Catherine II to 1864, 1.5 million Russian soldiers fell in this country, excluding the Cossack losses as they were not considered a part of the regular Russian army.
From the beginning until the end of the war, the Russian army had burnt and pillaged twenty, thirty, fifty, and one hundred Circassian villages at a time, destroying the harvest and driving out the cattle; the Russian army killed or uprooted the native inhabitants and settled Cossack and Russian stanitsas in the territory, according to the planned genocide. As Russian generals stated openly, Russia needed the Circassian lands, not the Circassians. Finally, Russia crushed the Circassian nation in 1864, forced them from their historical Motherland, drove them to the Black Sea shore under Russian bayonets, and threw them into the confines of the Ottoman Empire thus completing its planned genocide.
At the present time, as a result of the genocide, 90 percent of the Circassian population lives scattered all over the world. They survived the planned Russian genocide, the cold, deprivations, epidemics, and other companions of their forcible exile. They became exemplary citizens of many countries, established their own new republics--Adigey, Kabardino-Balkaria
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Abadzekhs Abazins Abkhazian Abkhazian Kingdom According Adygheya Aleppo amirs Amman Anapa Arab Azov Bagrat Bahri Balkans Barkuk barrow Barsbai Battalion battle Baybars became Bedouins began Bjedoughs Black Sea Black Sea coast Cairo Caliph captured Caucasian cavalry century Cherkes Cherkess Chernomorski Circassian community Circassian Mamelukes citadel commander in chief Cossacks Crimean culture Czarist Damascus defeated detachment district Egypt Emir enemy ethnic eviction exiles families fortress Georgian Ibrahim inhabitants Islam Istanbul Jaqmaq Jordan Kabardia Kabardinian Khan Khotko killed King Kipchak Kuban River land leaders lived Maeotians Maikop Mameluke army military minister Mongols mountaineers Narts Natkhuagias North Caucasus Northwestern Caucasus occupied Ottoman Empire Pasha period population Prince Qaitbai Qalaoon Qansaw Qutuz Regiment region Republic rule Russian armed forces sent settled settlements Shapsughs Sheikh stanitsas sultan Syria Taman Tatar territory thousand throne Toman took Tuapse Turkey Turkish Turks Ubykhs villages Western Caucasus wrote Zikhians